Fixit: Poisonous spider problem in Minnesota?

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 10, 1998 - 10:00 PM

Q How many poisonous spider varieties are there in Minnesota?

A Minnesota has a wide variety of spiders, but few of them are potentially venomous to humans, said Jeff Hahn, entomology supervisor at the University of Minnesota Extension Service Yard & Garden Clinic.

The Northern widow spider is a venomous spider that is thought to occur in Minnesota, Hahn said, but it is rarely encountered. This spider is black with a red, broken hourglass marking on the underside. Females are about ½ inch long and are normally found in undisturbed woods, tree stumps and stone walls.

Black widows are not native to the Upper Midwest and are rarely found in Minnesota. They are small spiders that prefer quiet, secluded locations. Females have a round, shiny black abdomen with a red hourglass marking on the underside.

Hahn said the other potentially dangerous spider that people often wonder about is the brown recluse spider. This species is not native to the Upper Midwest and is extremely rare, with only one specimen confirmed in Minnesota in the past 45 years.

Many people believe that all spiders should be killed because they might bite. Spiders are normally quite timid and bite only when mishandled, cornered or injured. Spiders actually are beneficial because they prey upon flies and other house and garden pests. Without spiders, population outbreaks of those pests could occur, he said.

Waffle fries  

Q I like the waffle fries served with meals at restaurants such as the Rain Forest Cafe. Are they available frozen so I can eat them at home?

A Yes. Waffle fries by Ore-Ida are available in your grocer's freezer section, said Steve Bishop of Lunds.

Cover problem walls  

QIs it possible to wallpaper a textured wall without sanding the wall first? If so, how should the wall be prepared?

AA number of wall-covering liners sold under various trade names are available for use on problem walls, said Burton Savitt of Savitt Bros., Minneapolis.

The liners can be used over sand-finished plaster for a smooth bump-free surface, and will bridge V-grooved paneling and rough spots.

Before applying the liner, walls must be clean and mildew-free and primed.

A heavy-duty premixed vinyl adhesive is applied to the liner, and the liner should be hung horizontally.

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